Revolution Or Reform The Roscommon Eviction – Op-Ed by Nathan Hastings

Over the last number of months, the issue of evictions has attracted widespread attention and much criticism has been directed at those responsible.

Saoradh has supported and been actively involved in the actions against evictions and all such attacks on the oppressed. We have done so on a revolutionary basis, understanding that evictions and acts of oppression and exploitation such as these occur throughout the world as a result of a system which allows the enrichment of a few at the expense of many. Although the level of critical reaction to the recent eviction in Roscommon is encouraging, there are a few issues which have arisen in the nature of this criticism.

Foremost, those who are physically evicting people, the banks or landlords who send them, the gardaí who protect them, and the state apparatus which legislates for these actions are all to blame. However, these entities and these actions do not exist in a vacuum. They exist because we live in a society in which the sources of our wealth are owned and controlled privately by a minority; and a state, political, legal and military and police structure has been bred out of this system of ownership which protects the system of ownership and control- namely capitalism. To complain about the structure, i.e. the gardaí, the bailiffs, the politicians, etc. is fruitless unless ultimately the system at the core of this structure changes. Call for an end to evictions, elect different politicians, call for more accountability: it means nothing whilst the core system remains intact. Those calling for reform and change alone are therefore wolves in sheep’s clothing, many of whom are simply seeking cheap electoral gains.

What is also ironic is that many of those criticising the evictions are content to use the language of the oppressors: ‘Northern Ireland’, men from a ‘different country’. The north of Ireland is part of Ireland, it is simply a part which is occupied. The fact that these men came from the occupied zone is not relevant. There are no shortage of cretins in every country willing to undertake such endeavours. Many are even speaking as if they would care less if it was the people of the occupied north being subjected to this treatment. In truth The Irish people have been victims of this oppression for centuries; only through the unity of the oppressed can this be ended. Among the biggest blockages to this unity has been British imperialism. British imperialism has divided the Irish people and divided the country. This is no more evident than in the words of British Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe at an Anglo-Irish summit in 1984, who warned Thatcher that Irish freedom would leave a Cuba on Britain’s doorstep. The behaviour of the vultures engaged in evictions is a symptom of capitalism, capitalism is secured by imperialism. Those who recognise ‘Northern Ireland’ as a distinct entity and promote it as such strengthen imperialism, which strengthens capitalism, which gives rise to scenes such as those in Roscommon. Those who want an end to predatory evictions whilst constantly referring to ‘Northern Ireland’ are complaining about water in the tub as they run the tap.

In sum: the only solution to these problems is a revolutionary one. The system of capitalism at the core is the problem: the idea that simply tinkering at the structure which this system has bred will make any difference is nonsense. The weakening of imperialism in Ireland makes the eradication of capitalism a much more feasible eventuality, and tacit recognition of imperialist partition should, therefore, be avoided.

Nathan Hastings is a former Republican Prisoner from Derry City

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